Peru is the best place on the planet. That's the view of serial traveller Mike Laird - and he should know.
The risk management consultant has clocked up 72 different nations 10 years after friend Stephen Blackmore bet him £50 that he couldn't visit a country for every letter of the alphabet.
Laird, who places Peru just ahead of his Edinburgh home, said: "I just love the history and culture and the people and the food is interesting."
Peru is perfect for trekking holidays, with the Andes mountain range, rising to almost 7,000 metres (23,000ft) running the full length of the country.
The South American country is a big favourite with travellers booking specialist tours and tailor-made holidays.
They are seduced by Peru's lush Amazonian rainforest, splendid beaches, led by resorts in Máncora, and beautiful ancient and cultural sites spearheaded by the Inca-built Machu Picchu.
Laird had already won one wager by driving to the Sahara in a Mondeo in under a week.
His round the world bet came with stipulations. He couldn't count Scotland as an S country among his private journeys. Countries he'd already visited could go on the list, however.
The explorer also had to remain in the destination for longer than 48 hours and use its English name (so no Cote d'Ivoire, but Ivory Coast).
But success in the alphabet country challenge - which has cost Laird £15,000 and five passports - will forever remain elusive … until they invent a country beginning with X.
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